Council gives school district lot for second spec house; first up for sale

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With the first PHS Building spec house going on the market at 2114 Otley Ave., the Perry City Council has given the school district a lot for a second house.

Students in the Perry High School Building Trades Program had their work cut short on the spec house they were constructing at 2114 Otley Ave. during the spring 2020 semester due to the rise of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, but plans for future homes are still in the works.

In order to help the program continue to progress, the Perry City Council approved Monday the gift of the lot at 2108 Otley Ave. for the building of a second spec house. The lot is one of seven along the north side of Otley Ave. between 10th and 12th streets that the city intends to give to the PHS building-trades program.

“This is a good program for both the school and the city,” Perry City Administrator Sven Peterson told the council. “This year’s class was a little bumpy, but we are expecting smoother sailing in the future.”

The council approved giving the school district the first lot in September 2019. The second lot lies directly west of the first. Each lot’s value was assessed at $11,780 in 2020, according to county records.

Perry Community School District (PCSD) Superintendent Clark Wicks briefed the school board Aug. 12 on the status of the first house.

“We are looking at the potential sale or at least the ad for the Industrial Tech house that has been built,” said Wicks. “The appraisal has just been completed for that, so I’ll be working with (PCSD Business Manager Kent Bultman), and we’ll be talking about that. Just to keep you updated on that, but we’ll follow all the policies and things as far as putting it up for sale, and then we can talk as a board to see what you want to do with that.”

Concrete workers with Ames-based Caruth Construction Inc. kept their eyes on the skies Tuesday afternoon as they poured the foundation of the Perry High School Building Trades Program is led by PHS Industrial Technology Instructor Chad Morman, and students earn college credits for the class at the DMACC Perry VanKirk Career Academy, which also provides the construction tools for the program.

As each house is sold, the school recoups the construction costs — and secure profits — and these are used to finance the next year’s house. It is estimated one house per school year would be built, with most of the houses ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 square feet.

Some portions of the construction requires licensed or bonded work and has to be done by a contractor. For instance, foundation work, connecting to utilities and some other duties is be done by students, but all carpentry, interior wiring and plumbing, drywall work, insulation and most other required work is done by PHS students.

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